This is year has been a strange year. One filled with pain, waiting, indecision, and so many blessings and miracles. I know it's March, and the end of March to boot, but I feel the need to think on my new year blessings.
You see, we began the year without a dog. Daddy has some pretty severe allergies. We have tried other dogs before, and within days all of them were a no go. Our poor hearts have been broken more than once, not to mention our wallets! For some reason, my husband refused to take allergy pills. I guess he didn't want to have to remember one more pill in the morning. Suddenly, after the new year, my husband decided that since he couldn't give the boy a brother, he would do his best to give him a dog. He agreed to start taking allergy pills. Now, being here in Korea made finding the right dog a serious challenge. There was no puppy store, no variety of shelters to visit to help us pick the perfect dog. Suddenly, there was the perfect dog! And just a suddenly, he had new owners. Sigh.
The boy really wanted that dog, but he was afraid of being broken hearted again. He didn't know what to do. I thought about it and remembered a class I took where the discussion revolved around being specific in our prayers. Yes, God already knows what we want, but He wants us to talk to Him. To tell Him in great detail our needs and heart's desires. So, the boy and I laid down together one night and prayed...for a dog that could be ours forever, for a dog that wouldn't make daddy sick, for a dog that would love us, for a dog that could handle being in an apartment...and if we could have those things, we asked God to provide one for us within the next 30 days. If we did not find a dog in 30 days we would know God did not plan on us having a dog in our family.
One week later, that same dog I thought would have been perfect but got adopted by someone else, was suddenly available again. Just like that...for no reason the new owners decided they couldn't keep him. I heard God speaking. The weekend after we found out he was available again, we went out to go see him.
It has been two months now and we still have our dog Lupin. He is crazy and plays with us and tries to sleep on the bed with me and follows us everywhere. Daddy isn't sick. That silly dog was our first blessing of the year.
At the same time we were looking for a dog to join our family, I needed surgery. I had a couple of ovarian cysts that were giving me a great deal of trouble. I was no longer myself...I had turned into the weak, tired, sick woman that was just no fun to be around. Our homeschool was suffering because I often had to take naps or pause to be ill. Many days I was happy if we managed to get two subjects done before I gave up for the day. I was originally scheduled to have surgery in mid January. I was so excited to finally have it done....and then my surgeon called and said it was a no go. He was refusing to do the surgery.
I was so mad! Everything in our lives was suffering because I could not do the things I had always done and this bonehead decides it's too risky for him to do the surgery. I have to admit I asked God Why?! Ugh! I was less than happy, especially when I understood they were going to send me downtown to a Korean hospital. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Korea...I have enjoyed my time here. I still speak only about 5 words of Korean, but I'm supposed to have surgery in a Korean hospital??
Needless to say, there was no convincing the doc to do the surgery in the American hospital and my insurance was NOT going to send me stateside just so I wasn't uncomfortable with the culture and language differences. I went off to Samsung Medical Center at the end of January more than a little nervous.
SMC was really nice. They had a wonderful English speaking guide to take us around everywhere. The doctor spoke English and seemed to think the surgery would be a piece of cake (unlike my American doctor). He sent me off to consult with another doc just to make sure everything on the inside was working well. I got my preop stuff all taken care of, and I was stoked because that meant surgery should be pretty soon. Right?
Wrong. My surgery was not to be scheduled until 14 March. I won't lie...I cried in the car on the way home. I had to wait two whole months before I could be better. Before I could walk to the store without pain, before I could teach all day without being exhausted, before I could go sightseeing again, before I could eat without wanting to be sick, before I could clean my house to my standards, before...well, just before.
I don't remember yelling at God this time. I just remember crying to Him. I was sad, and sick and tired...and He wanted me to wait another 2 months on top of all the time I had already waited. I knew everything happened for a reason and that there can be a lesson learned in the trials of life. So, I started trying to understand and started looking for the lesson. Strangely enough, I started going back to church again and took the kids with me. I remember the final sermon before I had my surgery was about not looking back at the "good ole days", but at finding the blessings in today. Taking a look at what it is I have now and being thankful for it. Finally, I think I understood what it was He was trying to show me. In spite of all my problems, I still had much. Because of my weakness, I learned to let others help me. I gave the kids more responsibility, and asked my husband for more help with the errands. I got a house cleaner to come out twice a week (oh, that one stung!) so I didn't loose my mind over a dirty house. I learned to let things go.
We were also worried about how the surgery would go. After all, the last time I had surgery it did NOT go as planned. In fact there were many things that went against the plan. Instead of a 90 minute surgery, I was on the table for 6 hours. The docs here at SMC could not tell me if they could see anything inside me that might indicate a repeat of my first surgery. We simply did not know what would happen. So, as with the dog, we prayed. Specifically, intentionally and with great purpose. I asked others to pray in the same way for me...something I rarely do. I really didn't want another 6 week recovery period. I really just wanted to be normal again.
On March 14th, I went in to surgery at 0930 and woke up at 1200. I had not been cut open. There would be no long recovery. I went home the very next day. I could walk, pee, lift, and do normal things. God blessed us with a miracle once again. I am me again. I can't wait for next week so I can do regular school work with the kids, and I can take them outside for PE and do a field trip. I am me again.
Finally, yesterday, we received another blessing of the new year. My husband made rank. We don't have to retire now. We don't have to worry about finding a job right after we come back from Korea. We don't have to worry about completing a Masters degree in two years. After having our life plans up in the air since December of last year, God has given us guidance. God had given my husband hope that the faithful are still rewarded and that hard work does not go unnoticed. God has given my children a shining example of the fact that doing what God asks does bring about rewards. God has shown all of us that our prayers are certainly heard. We are blessed this new year indeed.
The beginning of this year has taught us to wait on His time. To pray, not vaguely and half-heartedly, but with purpose and with great faith that He will do what He says. This year has reminded us that miracles still happen, the faithful receive rewards from heaven, and that yes, He certainly does love His children.
I know that sounds blithe and happy go lucky. I know the world is still full of sorrow and pain. I know bad things will happen, and they may even happen to my family. I know. But right now, I will give praise and thanks for the simple, yet meaningful, things God has done for us in these past three months. I will continue to believe in the hope called Christ.